Archive for February, 2009


the orphanage closing its doors…


Very sad post from Stu Maschwitz over at ProLost.  His company, The Orphanage, is closing its doors indefinitely. Most recently, Stu and The Orphanage produced Frank Miller’s The Spirit, 300, and Sin City. Along with Shane Ross over at Little Frog in High Def, Stu’s ProLost blog has been a huge influence on my blog game, inspiring me to attempt to walk in his footsteps and share production knowledge for the sake of bettering our community and the industry.


Here’s a short, classy excerpt from Stu’s post:

It’s no accident that our company’s name described a place for people, people who may be thrown together, but who ultimately create their own destinies. Scott once described his vision of an orphanage as “a hundred success stories waiting to happen,” and that is exactly what came to pass inside our offices. We have had the privilege of working with many “Orphans” over the years, and watching them grow and take on new responsibilities has been the single greatest part of coming to work every day.

A message to the visual effects industry: You will never find a better employee than a former Orphan.

Good luck to you, Mr. Maschwitz, and to all the Orphans out there.

proactively • peter


free plugin demos at toolfarm

Toolfarm is one of those really cool companies that offers niche products at wholesale prices.  Best part is, they offer free demos of those plug-ins so you can drive them around the block a few times before you buy.  Or simply to get your learn on.  Just fill out your contact info and they hand you the keys to the car.

Best part is they’ll let you fly solo for the test drive so depress pedal to floor.  Here’s a few plug-ins that would be awesome add-ons to my toolkit and you might like  check them out, too.


GenArts, Inc. is a premier provider of visual special effects software for the film and video industry. Their Sapphire Plug-ins extend the capabilities of editing and effects workstations by providing digital artists with a collection of over 175 state-of-the-art image processing and synthesis effects.


Desert sunrise, Arctic tundra, nighttime urban streets: the look of your footage defines the mood. Now you can define the style of your video or film, regardless of on-set conditions, with powerful imaging tools. Choose from 100+ Look presets, to help set the mood for everything from a wedding to the next Sundance original. You also get the standalone Magic Bullet LooksBuilder, for pre-visualizing looks on set or anywhere. Portable presets load into any editing hosts, so the same Looks you create on set are the ones you finish with in the editorial suite: no need for an expensive finishing system.


Primatte Keyer is a professional greenscreen tool that extracts keys from any color background quickly and easily. Version 4 brings new levels of power and speed to After Effects and Avid, and for the first time, Final Cut Pro. New features include easy-to-use Auto setup, which creates an almost-perfect key with one click. Powerful features allow Primatte Keyer to overcome keying challenges such as uneven lighting, compression artifacts, subtle shadows, and edge light contamination. Best of all, Primatte Keyer 4 works right on the timeline.


3D Stroke uses paths from one or more masks to render volumetric strokes that can be rotated and moved freely in 3D space. It even has a built-in camera to create dynamic 3D environments. Path reveals are made easily using the keyframable sliders for start and end.

And hey, Toolfarm is super nice and throw in a considerable collection of free tutorials to get you started.  Have fun!

proactively • plugged in • peter


video tutorial – artbeats film effects with shane ross


In this free video tutorial, Avid & FCP Editor Shane Ross shows cool ways to apply Artbeats film effects to your video footage.  Click on the above pic or here to get to the video tutorial.  He shows both Avid and FCP approaches so skip ahead to the 12min or so mark for the FCP explanation.

Shane Ross’ Little Frog in High Def is one of the reasons I got in the blogging game.  I haven’t seen many video tutorials from Shane but I have to say he does an excellent job with this one.


Makes me feel very retro to see him whipping around in an Avid timeline.  I haven’t touched Avid in like 3 years but it was the NLE I first learned to edit with.


I really appreciate Shane’s explanation of FCP’s composite modes; multiply removes the white and leaves the black, screen removes the black and leaves the white.  Also, his explanation of why you would see white film grain versus black film grain goes that extra step that helps give your film look meaning, not just flavoring.


For someone who has only been exposed to film making exclusively in a digital world, knowing what a light leak is and why it would happen is soooooo cool.  Now I know to tend to put a light leak at the beginning of a clip, not just somewhere in the middle where I think it would look cool.  Or how to create a light leak transition.  Or an awesome example sequence of everything put to use.

And of course it’s extra cool to hear Shane’s expertise come into play when comparing the matte Avid will pull on a light leak versus the key FCP will pull.  Not that we need to know this, just that he kicks that much butt at the editing game he can drop some uber knowledge without giving it a second thought.


Thanks for this tutorial Mr. Ross, would love to see more!

proactively • rethinking film looks • peter

February 2009

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